WINCHESTER, N.H. – The Winchendon, Mass. driver, Keith Johnson, not only won for the second time in only three outings Saturday, but did it in convincing style, taking on a major league cast to win the prestigious Teddy Bear Pools Triple Crown Series 50-lap Street Stock main event at Monadnock Speedway.
In a battle of Mini Stock royalty Saturday, Gordon Farnum won a furious back-and-forth battle with defending division champion Louie Maher. NHSTRA Modified blaster Tyler Leary repeated his win of a week earlier, as did Young Gun Colton Martin.
And in the night’s Late Model Sportsman 25-lapper, Cole Littlewood earned his first victory lap of the season and, with it, bragging rights at Sunday’s family barbeque, as he held his brother Justin in his shadow all the way to jump up to third in the early season points parade.
Bay State Blaster Tommy O’Sullivan, who’d dominated the Teddy Bear Pools Series a summer ago, set fast time in qualifying Saturday, making him the odds-on favorite to top the night’s main event. A top-ten redraw put Johnson outside of Adam Gray on row one as the 50-lapper went green, with O’Sullivan firing from sixth.
And, while O’Sullivan’s night would end quickly without fanfare, Gray jumped all over the opening lead, bringing Johnson, hot shoe Chris Buffone, and Chris Lindquist along with him.
Twenty-three laps later, though, the second of eight event cautions waved, as the leading Gray pulled up lame on the backchute. That moved Buffone to the point, but only three laps later; Chief Starter Chris Horton’s yellow was in the air again, this time for Buffone.
Through all the chaos at the front Johnson, who’d wired the Street Stock 25-lapper a week earlier stayed strong in the musical chairs battle for the lead. Taking command on a lap-28 restart, he then held Tim Wenzel and Geoff Rollins in his back pocket the rest of the way to score the big win. Although winless on the night, Rollins still impressed, earning runner-up honors in both the Street Stock and Modified features.
Eleven months ago, Tyler Leary scored the first two NHSTRA Modified victories of his career with back-to-back wins in June 2021. This season, he’s again won consecutive feature events, turning the trick in May this time out.
And, as a week earlier, Leary led every circuit in Saturday’s 30-lapper, taking the checkers a carlength ahead of Rollins. Nate Wenzel was third across the stripe Saturday, improving his finish by one spot over his May 7 performance.
Starting Louie Maher and Gordon Farnum alongside each other in the Mini Stock feature set up a classic. Running most of the 25-lapper inches apart, the potent duo swapped the lead five times, with Farnum – an 11-time winner a season ago – leading the final four laps to win for the second time this season.
Jeff Asselin had the best seat in the house the final five go-rounds, watching the battle royale from third in the 13-car field.
Cole Littlewood edged his brother Justin by the tiniest of margins in qualifying for Saturday’s Late Model feature, setting fast time with a lap of 13.994 seconds, just three one-thousands quicker than Justin’s 13.997.
The Orange, Mass. brothers then ran the night’s feature almost as close. Slowed only by an opening-lap Rocky Smith looper, the 25-lapper sailed into the books with Cole in command all the way. Week one winner Ryan Currier was solid in third to stay atop the points parade, while Jaret Curtis, victorious a week earlier, was a no-show Saturday.
Colton Martin topped the Young Gun 15-lapper for the second week in a row. Heat race winner Dominick Stafford, a sophomore member of the youth brigade was second, with 11-year-old Owen Zilinski, still a fifth-grader, using a mid-race pass to earn the third-place hardware just ahead of his older brother Zach, this season’s opening day winner.
Monadnock Speedway returns to action next Saturday, May 21, with a six-division card of NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series competition. Post time is 6 p.m.
MONADNOCK SPEEDWAY MAY 14 TOP PERFORMERS
STREET STOCK 50 LAP: Keith Johnson, Geoff Rollins, Tim Wenzel, Adam Gray, Hillary Renaud, Joe Arena, Chris Lindquist, Nate Nunez, Dan Robinson, Bryce Howard.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Cole Littlewood, Justin Littlewood, Ryan Currier, Kevin Vaudrien, Dan Comeau.
NHSTRA MODIFIED: Tyler Leary, Geoff Rollins, Nate Wenzel, Ben Byrne, J.T. Cloutier.
MINI STOCK: Gordon Farnum, Louie Maher, Jeff Asselin, Kevin Clayton, Kevin McKnight.
YOUNG GUN: Colton Martin, Dominick Stafford, Owen Zilinski, Zach Zilinski, Jaimielynn Flannery, Markus O’Neil.
By Gary Dutton